Le Jour was a French distributor best known in Europe as a retailer of chronographs manufactured by Heuer (Le Jour was also the name Yema used to bring watches into the States). Heuer, it should be noted, produced watches for a number of brands under private label arrangements. Many of these watches were identical to those already in Heuer’s catalog, just without Heuer’s branding. Around the ’80s, Heuer made a PVD-cased sports chronograph called the Pasadena. Heuer also made this watch for Le Jour, who debuted it as their 7203 chronograph. This watch, like so many others produced by Heuer for third-parties, is often referred to as a poor man’s Heuer amongst collectors.
Le Jour eventually went the way of so many other brands that perished during the height of the quartz crisis. The rights to the brand were bought and sold numerous times, with no major attempt to revive the brand in a meaningful way. That is, until now.
We recently discovered that Le Jour is indeed back, and the brand is kicking things off in a strong way with an inaugural collection of seven barrel-cased chronographs dubbed the Mark I. The Mark I is not a one-for-one remake of the aforementioned 7203, but rather what one might call a spiritual successor.
Now, I’m a total sucker for barrel-cased chronographs, and I own more than my fair share of them. On paper, the Mark I looks really good and the price point—starting at $2,000 for the most basic models—is too tempting to ignore. I knew that this was one I had to check out in the metal, so we get one in for review. But did it hold up to closer scrutiny? Let’s find out.